In this episode of Optics Trade Debates, we are going to talk about a feature found on some red dot sights, that is a solar cell on the housing.
Only a couple of years ago, Holosun was among the first who introduced solar cells on a red dot. In 2021, there are still not that many such products. There is Vortex’s SPARC Solar, Sightmark’s Volta model, and some others. Holosun has more models with an integrated solar cell on their housing than all other manufacturers combined, which makes them unique.
What are some advantages of having a solar cell on the housing? If the battery dies, the device still has the option of solar mode powering, so the red dot works regardless. The dot is not as bright as it would otherwise be, but it still works.
Another advantage is that this feature saves battery life. With the combined mode of both sources of power (the battery and the solar cell) the battery gets drained less. However, the solar cell is quite exposed so the user can quickly damage it. Luckily, most of these dots can be set to manual mode, where they only drain power from the battery – so, if you accidentally damage the cell and it ceases to work, you can still use the red dot in manual mode.
The reliability and robustness are not the best when it comes to red dots with solar cells on the housing, which is also the reason why professional users, such as the police and military do not use them. These dots are usually also more expensive. When it comes to Holosun, their red dots are 40€ – 50 € more expensive if they have this added feature. If you are not a soldier or a policeman, this is a good feature due to the battery advantage.
We hope we covered most issues regarding this topic. Thank you for sending in this question, and we will see you in our next debate. Take care.
Products mentioned in the Which Red Dot Sights are made in Europe? debate:
Red Dot Sights: https://www.optics-trade.eu/en/dot-sights.html
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